Heaven is for Real

Overall Rating


leans strongly toward a biblical worldview

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Faith and/or Biblical Relevance 3.5stars.png
Faith-compatible Depiction of Characters and Character Relationships 4.5stars.png
Faith-compatible Depiction of Situations 4.0stars.png
Family Viewing Suitability 4.0stars.png
Entertainment Value 4.0stars.png
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Just in time for Easter, the highly anticipated release of HEAVEN IS FOR REAL in theaters nationwide on April 16 thoughtfully raises important questions that every person must ultimately face regarding the person of Jesus and the existence of an afterlife. Based on the true story of four-year-old Colton Burpo’s near-death experience in 2003 while in surgery for a ruptured appendix, HEAVEN IS FOR REAL follows many of the details found in the New York Times best-selling 2010 book of the same name.

Produced by Joe Roth and T.D. Jakes, this Sony/TriStar film is directed by Randall Wallace (BRAVEHEART) and stars Greg Kinnear (AS GOOD AS IT GETS, YOU’VE GOT MAIL) as small-town Nebraska pastor and volunteer firefighter Todd Burpo, Kelly Reilly (SHERLOCK HOLMES) as his stay-at-home wife, Sonja, and newcomer Connor Corum as their young son, Colton. While HEAVEN IS FOR REAL does not clearly present the biblical teaching on how a person gets to heaven or comes to know Jesus, it is a high quality outreach tool for Christians to share with non-believers about the reality of heaven and the Gospel.

Overall Faith and/or Biblical Relevance


In a world increasingly skeptical about biblical truth claims, HEAVEN IS FOR REAL shows that a young boy’s experience of heaven and Jesus was, indeed, real. Colton’s knowledge about events he saw on Earth while in surgery and people he met in heaven – details he could not possibly have known otherwise – will cause moviegoers to reflect upon the implications for their own lives.  

While some Christians may take issue with the hint of universalism and lack of overt reference to repentance and faith in Jesus for salvation and attainment of heaven, HEAVEN IS FOR REAL shows how Colton’s innocent and matter-of-fact glimpse of heaven causes his family, church and community to wrestle with life’s big questions. Through Colton’s experience, HEAVEN IS FOR REAL gently shares biblical truths in an accessible and non-preachy way – offering hope, encouragement and a strengthening of faith for both Christians and non-believers alike.

Faith-compatible Depiction of Characters and Character Relationships


The characters in HEAVEN IS FOR REAL honor God with their love for each other and respect for others.  Todd and Sonja Burpo clearly have a loving and unified relationship as husband and wife – working together through realistic challenges while doing their best to protect their children and raise them well. Older sister Cassie Burpo is sweet and protective of Colton – particularly in the face of taunting as word gets out about Colton’s experience in heaven.

Beyond the immediate family, some of the most moving scenes in HEAVEN IS FOR REAL involve Todd’s church family and the local community. There are numerous scenes depicting church members coming together to sing hymns, minister to those in crisis and pray for each other. And the tender love of God is clearly and realistically reflected in the local community as people help each other during various circumstances and events.   

Faith-compatible Depiction of Situations


HEAVEN IS FOR REAL focuses on the realness of heaven and Jesus as experienced through the eyes of a young boy. As his parents and others in his home town and beyond learn of his story, a wide range of emotions, responses and explanations for what happened are unleashed. Here, HEAVEN IS FOR REAL respectfully presents a variety of perspectives, including those of skeptical church leaders, supportive church members, an agnostic college psychologist, Todd’s firefighter colleagues and friends, Cassie’s school mates and others in their hometown. As each person reacts to Colton’s story, we see faith-compatible echoes of the men and women of the Bible who similarly have wrestled with their faith.    

Family Viewing Suitability


With its PG rating, HEAVEN IS FOR REAL is a multigenerational, family-friendly film to share with children five years of age and older. While there is only one glossed-over reference to hell as a place of “hate and fear,” HEAVEN IS FOR REAL deals with the all-important topics of Jesus, death and the afterlife which are important to sensitively discuss with children and non-believers alike.  HEAVEN IS FOR REAL affords a great opportunity to do just this and further flesh out the Gospel message of repentance and faith in Christ for salvation – and the promise of eternity in heaven with God and His people.  

Entertainment Value


HEAVEN IS FOR REAL brings high production values to the big screen and a well-written story line that is entertaining, engaging and thought-provoking. There are several humorous moments mixed in and it is refreshing to see important faith-driven topics handled well by Hollywood. Young Connor Corum’s portrayal of Colton is impressive, and Greg Kinnear delivers a standout performance among an otherwise solid cast.  And many viewers will love the traditional hymns and upbeat musical score.  

Overall, HEAVEN IS FOR REAL is a well-made, encouraging and hope-filled film that causes people to ask themselves what they think about the central figure in human history – Jesus – and the biblical promise of heaven for those who are with Him.  Faith-driven moviegoers will likely find that this film meets their desire for solid, faith-friendly entertainment to engage with and share with  family and friends. 

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  • Amen, Rebecca McWhirter! As for Bonnie Metcalf, Jesus was resurrected, and He resurrected Lazarus as well, both are documented IN the Bible, itself. I’m thinking you’re having difficulty understanding the Scriptures because, in 1st Corinthians 2:14, God’s Word says, “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
  • All I have to say for the negative comments is “For nothing is impossible with God”. My God does not fit in any box man designs for him.
  • Falsehood may be entertaining but it remains falsehood. Please see my previous postings regarding Jesus’ own word, where he makes it clear that the general resurrection will not occur until his return; also spoken by Paul who was taught by Jesus. If one chooses to disbelieve Jesus, they are calling him a liar.
  • I just saw Heaven Is For Real. All I can say is “Wow”! I was moved throughout the entire movie. The innocence and purity of Colton was so totally believable and real. The way the story kept building held everyone’s attention. I anticipated each upcoming scene with wonderment. Very rarely does a movie grip me as this one. In my estimation, everyone should see it. Those who believe will be reassured about many things, and many questions might be answered. For those who are on the fence, or don’t believe…discussions should start. I had tears for practically the whole movie, for the joys and laughter, as well as sadness, and the beauty of this film. I know it’s Hollywood, but it’s not showy. It’s not perfect, but I give it 5 stars.
  • My wife and I saw Heaven is for Real last night. We really enjoyed it. I guess the liberal non-christians just don’t get it, or even better, possibly it scared them a little and maybe got them thinking. Psalm 8:2
    From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.
  • Saw it on Easter with my wife. It was an amazing portrayal of a true story. Loved it all. It carried over the great feeling from celebrating Easter Mass earlier in the day.
  • A beautiful movie! We took two of our grandchildren and they loved it. The day before Easter was a good time to see this movie hope there will be many more to follow. Deb Irvin
  • Way back in the day, when I was a freshman in college, several of us sat around late one night discussing life, death, Heaven, Hell, Vietnam, the draft, etc. because ‘we thought we knew it all (We were high school graduates, from across the nation, who were going through freshman orientation at a mid-sized university in the Midwest-with a fantastic basketball team.) As the night wore on, the topic of religion came up. There were Protestants, a Catholic, 2 Jewish girls who I thought were Italian because their last names ended in ’O’, a newbie agnostic (me-I had done some reading!), and an assortment of Ouija board believers, doubters & haters. When we got around to Heaven, we each gave our little spiel. The last to state her case was a tiny girl from Illinois. She usually had something funny to add & crack everyone up. Tonight, she was quiet. Quite pensive. She said her grandmother had passed that summer and she really missed her because they had always been so close. The entire family had gathered at the hospital to say their goodbyes. Once the life had gone out of this beloved grandmother and she was pronounced dead, the family began to comfort each other. They shared memories of this lovely woman. After half an hour or more, the grandmother opened her eyes and said in a clear, strong voice, “Heaven is Beautiful!” The family was stunned. The family G.P. and nurses checked her again. Grandma was, indeed, dead! All of us, college coeds, loss the ability to speak. No one even, said, “Wow.” I do not remember which one of us broke the silence, but everyone agreed that it was late and we had to be up early. What I do remember, is at that moment, all my doubt had vanished. Social Media has created a haven for haters. What I have expressed are my memories and opinions. There is no need for anyone to come at me, nor anyone else, with a barrage of attacks. If anyone dislikes what I have said, just keep scrolling-no problem. I just wanted to write my memory and what it meant to me. By the way, I am 65 years old. This happened 48 years ago. oh, my!
  • God tells us that He will pour out some of His Holy Spirit upon people in the last days, via dreams and visions, so that they can prophesy truth, not falsehood. Acts 2:17-21. He also warns about false dreamers, at Jeremiah 23:22-32. At the “Heaven is Real” website, and the movie trailer, they claim the 3 year old boy told them he went to heaven and saw and spoke with his dead sister (miscarried by his mother) his great grandfather, and a dead soldier. This claim is in direct opposition to God and Jesus’ word on the resurrection of the dead at the return of Jesus Christ on Judgment Day. Matthew 10:15. Please see Ephesians 6:12.
  • Excellent movie. 2 Corinthians 12:2 I knew a man in Christ above 14 years ago, ( whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell; God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.
  • This is an non-biblical account of heaven and therefore not to be used as a tool to explain truly biblical facts. This movie is lifting the supposed account of one person to the level of the Bible. ONLY the Bible gives the correct information into the spiritual world. I would commend “The Berean Call”’s reaction to this movie: “”http://www.thebereancall.org/content/heaven-real-real-exercise-discernment-0/“>http://www.thebereancall.org/content/heaven-real-real-exercise-discernment-0/”.
  • Heretical and totally non-Biblical.
  • Not as good as “God’s Not Dead” but worth the price of admission.
    Had a little trouble with the “preacher” who had personal doubts about
    Heaven, but that’s probably typical of the dead liberal church of America today.
    Also, why in the world would a Christian “preacher” go to an atheist
    psychologist for advice? If that were true, he needs spiritual first aid.
    Also, the “preacher” seemed to use the Bible as a paperweight, again
    probably typical of the fallen churches in America.
    All in all, not very inspirational, and kind of flat, doctrinally void,
    but infinitely better than the disgusting “Noah”.
  • I love reading the book and I am looking forward to seeing the picture.
  • Jesus said, “For this is the will of my Father, that everyone that beholds the Son and exercises faith in him should have everlasting life, and I will resurrect him at the LAST day.” John 6:40.
    Please also see 1st Thessalonians 4:13-18.
  • I, for one, will definitely not be watching this fantasy movie, thus not contributing to its production by buying a ticket. This type of thing has been discussed before: 2nd Timothy 2:18, “These very men have deviated from the truth, saying the resurrection has already occurred; and they are subverting the faith of some.”
    Everyone dead will be resurrected at the return of Jesus Christ. Please see John 5:28&29.
    When the resurrection actually occurs at Jesus’ return, we will not be risen up with physical bodies, but with spiritual bodies. We in the flesh, cannot see spiritual bodies.
    I encourage all to study 1st Corinthians chapter 15, verses 33-52, where God’s word, as expressed by the Apostle Paul by means of Jesus Christ, completely dispels any such notions of “seeing” our dead loved ones in “heaven” in near-death experiences. Please, people, understand that the term “unbelievers” not only applies to Atheists, but also to those who choose not to believe the word of our Almighty God. Search His word carefully while asking Him for His wisdom. (James 1:5- God gives wisdom generously to ALL who ask Him for it)